l 1800 ­ Carl Heinrich Knorr is born on May 15, at Meerdorf near Braunschweig, Germany, the son of a schoolteacher. He studies commerce and goes on to be a wholesaler of agricultural produce. l 1838 ­ Knorr builds a factory in Heilbronn to dry and grind chicory for the coffee trade. With the spread of industrialisation, CH Knorr realises the need for a quick and nutritious meal among factory workers and starts experimenting with drying vegetables and flavourful seasonings. With nutritional experts, he develops a preservation process to maintain the natural values of the ingredients and reduce their cooking times. This is the basis for the development of the dried soups. l 1873 ­ The Knorr Company begins packaging and selling soup mixes in food shops. l 1875 ­ Founder Carl Heinrich Knorr dies in Germany. l 1885 ­ The Knorr Company expands internationally with packaging plants in Austria and Switzerland. Along with cereals, vegetables and potato flakes it offers an early convenience product ­ soups in a compressed tablet form. l 1889 ­ Introduces the Erbswurst seasoned pea soup concentrate packed in a sausage casing, which can be eaten dry or added to boiling water. It becomes popular due to its light weight and easy preparation. By 1900 it is available in 40 varieties. CH Knorr AG formed in Germany. l 1899 ­ C.H. Knorr A.G. becomes a public company. The net value placed on the firm is 2.5 million marks and the company employs 800 people. l 1901-12 ­ Knorr AG opens factories in Wels, Austria; Thayngen, Switzerland; Nancy, France; Vincennes, France and Monza, Italy. l 1912 ­ Knorr bouillon cubes introduced in Switzerland. l 1947 ­ Although the years during the Second World War are difficult as resources are scarce, greater problems arise as demand for Knorr products is immense and quality starts eroding. This leads to the near bankruptcy of the company. The company subscribes to a new credo which brings the required turnaround: "Only true efforts in quality and reasonable prices and the development of new innovative products bring long-term success." l 1948 ­ One of the first measures of the turnaround is the substitution of the liquid brown seasoning with glutamate, eliminating the factory taste and making the soup a true competitor to homemade varieties. Cooking times are reduced from 30 to 5-10 minutes and the old cardboard package is replaced with a hermetically sealed aluminium pouch. Chicken noodle soup is launched with phenomenal success ­ 6.4 million servings are sold during the first seven months. l 1953 ­ Aromat seasoning mix is introduced and many other new recipes for soups, sauces and bouillons follow. By 1957, the flagship Knorr products ­ bouillons, soups, sauces and entrée mixes ­ are available in eight countries around the world. l 1958 ­ Knorr GmbH becomes a wholly-owned company of CPC International Inc, a predecessor of Bestfoods which belongs to Unilever today. l 1987 ­ Launch of Knorr aseptic wet soups in the French market supported with the TV campaign Soupe Primeur ­ la nouvelle fraîcheur du soir. Due to their success, aseptic wet soups are launched in various countries across Europe. l 1997 ­ Tastebreaks, a ready-made meal concept, is introduced in the UK. The packaging doubles as a dish. As the hot water required can easily be taken from a coffee machine, the product is popular with young people at work or in school. l 2000 ­ Knorr products are sold in more than 50 countries around the world. In October 2000, Unilever becomes the new owner of the brand. l 2002 ­ The global Knorr brand is worth more than E3 billion (£1.8bn) annually. Unilever Bestfoods UK announces a major programme of investment for the Knorr brand in the UK. {{COVER FEATURE }}